Love the Beans, Hate the Beaner

A couple of years ago, I put four white supremacists in prison. They had made the mistake of going into the Slater Slums of Huntington Beach, California, the city's traditional barrio, to kill a random Mexican. They got as far as stabbing a man before the Slater Slums smackdown began: The community came out of their apartments and kicked the shit out of the KKKlowns — a beatdown of wonderful, ironic proportions. Not a single Mexican was arrested; the Candy Ass Gang, as we called them, went away for years, convicted on hate crimes.

I discovered that the crime was premeditated, announced on a white-power Internet radio show weeks earlier. But I also discovered that the attackers loved Mexican food: A bunch of pictures a source forwarded to me showed the pendejos in various states of devouring burritos and tacos from Del Taco, the Mexican fast-food chain that's known for being better than that Taco Bell mierda.

Race traitors? Hardly. Just following American policy: Hate the Mexican, love the Mexican food, assault the Mexican, get your ass handed to you by Mexicans. This has been America's experience with Mexicans, a cycle of justice that must be remembered when considering what's happening to this country right now in the wake of SB 1070 and its many copycats. Those politicians, judges, and voters who pass law after law trying to stop Mexicans from asserting themselves in this country, are like King Canute commanding the tide to stop: The game is already over. We beat you with our Mexican food long ago, and we're going to beat you on SB 1070, as well.

Justin Renteria
Marco Albarran

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Gustavo Arellano is editor-in-chief of OC Weekly and the author of the syndicated "Ask a Mexican" column. His latest book is Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.


Also in this series:

New Times columnist Stephen Lemons on how civil disobedience must escalate as the Supreme Court rules on SB 1070.

VVM Executive Editor Michael Lacey on how America's war on Mexicans has gone on far too long.

Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse on how new voting laws could take out Obama this fall.

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Although the dinner table may seem an unlikely battleground, you've got to know your history. Food is one of the first things a conquering group demonizes when trying to repress a smaller group. The Spaniards tried to wean the Aztecs off tortillas and into bread, to no avail. During the Mexican-American War, urban legend had it that animals wouldn't eat the corpses of fallen Mexican soldiers because of the high chile content in the decaying flesh.

Similar knocks against Mexican food can be heard to this day in the lurid tourist tales of "Montezuma's Revenge" and in the many food-based ethnic slurs still in circulation: beaner, greaser, pepper belly, taco bender, and roach coach. "Aside from diet," borderlands scholar Américo Paredes wrote in 1978, "no other aspect of Mexican culture seems to have caught the fancy of the Anglo coiner of derogatory terms for Mexicans."

But that's all an undercurrent in the larger story of Mexican food's conquest of this country, to the tune of billions of dollars: tacos, tequila, hot sauce, chili, Chipotle, Rick Bayless, and so much more. If America truly had been successful in its anti-Mexican campaigns over the past 150 years, it would have eradicated our cuisine, à la the dishes of all the Native American tribes we exiled to permanent ethnic curiosity.

It's not like politicians haven't been down this road before: Dudley Do-Rights have long tried to ban street vendors, taco trucks, cottage-food industries, and other Mexican culinary traditions from suburbs and cities alike, only to see the common American repudiate them again and again.

And that's what's going to happen with SB 1070.

It will go down as did California's Proposition 187, which sought to make all government workers migra agents but later was declared unconstitutional. It'll fail like the mass deportations of Operation Wetback in the 1950s and those that occurred during the Great Depression — government mandates that Mexicans and the Americans who hire them quickly ignored.

Hell, even Tom Tancredo loves Mexican food. The notorious anti-Mexican former Colorado congressman debated me about assimilation in Denver during the fall of 2010. And what did we eat before the philosophical fisticuffs? Tamales.

America, if Tom Tancredo, who did his damnedest to stop Mexicans from coming into this country and left a failed legacy on that front, admitted defeat with each bite of a millennia-old meal, then so will you.

Don't worry, we'll be nice. And we'll make sure to add an extra shot of tequila to your frozen margarita when the courts, either now or in a decade or two, realize that SB 1070 is the Plessy v. Ferguson of the 21st century and overturn this pendejada. Meanwhile, keep stuffing your face with tacos!

 
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10 comments
Lance Boyle
Lance Boyle

You're not a Mexican, Gustavo. You're an American. Your 'we' in relation to Mexicans is just hollow posturing. Stick to your little hate column.

Bbaba24
Bbaba24

please go back to school and learn how to write, jajajaj

Belen
Belen

love the Article on love tacos but hate beaners!

sarum
sarum

Who creates the culture and the conditions that created the demand? This was not all a serendipitous confluence of events - this was scripted.

Jaime
Jaime

Again, a while back, the border was more of a suggestion. the fence was for keeping cows where they belonged. The border patrol existed to keep coffee shops in Nogales and Douglas in business. The demand for cheap labor and drugs by AMERICANS is what gave rise to the current situation. Look inward people.

peter mancini
peter mancini

If your here illegally then you should be sent back to mexico or prison because you are violaing the law period and not to mention damn near all crimes committed in az is from illegals I can understand looking for a better way of life for your family. thats understandable but you dont have to murder, kidnap, rape, and all the other things these assholes do that violates the laws of our country look at mexico, their cops are corrupt their goverment is corrupt they dont protect theit citizens the coiuntry is ran like hell and we dont want none of that trash over here or any of those idiots that have no morals, no integrity, browen pride huh proud of white killing innocent people yea thats a lot to be proud of go home aszsholes

Dorianrivers
Dorianrivers

¡Ask a Mexican! about stealing canoes at Lake Pleasant! One dead, two in jail on theft and homicide charges.

Dorianrivers
Dorianrivers

The Mexican gangs in Phoenix are responsible for most of the violent crimes here. Illegal or legal, doesn't matter - they shoot and kill each other and innocent non-gang members. They are the scourge of North Phoenix. Unfortunately, I am in the middle of their turf disputes, and I am speaking from direct experience with these thugs. 'Mexican Brown Pride' is what one gang calls themselves. Pride - take it back to Meyayko. Phoenix was a much nicer (and safer) city before these Latino hooligans began their takeover of clean and non-violent communities with metro Phoenix. I have been here 40 years, so some journalist from the barrios of LA can only make assumptions. I was not in Huntington Beach for the KKK take down, and you have not been here.....

Joe Astroturf
Joe Astroturf

Song “Arizona we’re proud of you” . See Sheriff Joe at the Oval desk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q81JiD9uZNE Arizona we’re proud of you for protecting the people under the red white and blue Calderone treats illegals worse than us and puts our country down any American that agrees with him would have to be a clown Arizona we’re proud of you You’ve come to your senses passed 1070 Obama’s giving back Buenos Aires refuge to Mexico we see It’s a shame you passed that law a little late At lease your trying to not have another patriot have Robert Krentz’s fate Arizona we’re proud of you for protecting the people under the red white and blue When you see the Grand Canyon you see Gods Majesty the red Rocks of Sedona look heavenly Law abiding Americans have had their fill of politicians that don’t protect the Shining city on the hill God was smiling down when you passed 1070 He see’s you protecting his people from sea to shining sea

JC
JC

An American Indian, a Muslim and a Cowboy were waiting in an airport lounge. They struck up a conversation and like most forced small talk between strangers a lull in the conversation came. After a few awkward seconds, the Indian remarked, "It's sad, once my people were many but now we are few." In a strong and proud voice the Muslim said, "Once my people were few, but now we are many." The cowboy leaned back and smiled wide and replied, "That's because we ain't all played cowboys and Muslims yet." - Now I think I am like most Americans. I believe we ignore the great benefits of immigration at our own peril. Countries throughout history have thrived because of immigration. The benefits are undeniable. We are stronger together. American's are not against immigration. We are not against Mexicans. We need each other. The only thing we are against is ILLEGAL immigration. All countries have immigration laws. When any nationality usurps those laws, they put the offended country in danger. So to bring this back around to the tasteless joke, Let's play cowboy's and ILLEGALS and lets see who wins!

 
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